Heading into Week 11 of the NFL, there are 16 teams sporting a .500 record or better. That means there are plenty of playoff spots to be earned during the stretch run of the season.
A single upset or division road win could alter the entire postseason picture. With so much at stake, there are bound to be some upsets this week. Read on to find picks for every game and detailed previews for three underdog victories that are poised to happen Sunday.
All lines are courtesy of Vegas Insider.
Cleveland Browns (+6 at Cincinnati Bengals)
Don’t look now, but if Cleveland walks into Cincinnati and comes away with a victory, it will be right back in the thick of the AFC North race.
Since turning the offense over to Jason Campbell, the Browns have knocked off the rival Ravens and lost a heartbreaker at Kansas City to the undefeated Chiefs. On the other sidelines, the Bengals are trending downward after two consecutive overtime losses and a rash of injuries to critical players, including Leon Hall and Geno Atkins.
Hall’s injury will allow Josh Gordon to find some open space when the Browns are on offense, but it is Cleveland’s defense that will win this one. The Browns held the Bengals to six points in the first matchup, and Joe Haden is one of the few corners in the league that has a shot at containing A.J. Green.
Between Haden’s prowess and Cleveland’s sixth-ranked rushing defense, the Bengals will once again struggle to score against the Browns.
New York Jets (+1 at Buffalo Bills)
There is not a more Jekyll and Hyde team in the NFL than the New York Jets.
Geno Smith and company have alternated between wins and losses every week and currently sit at 5-4. However, they will finally string two victories together by knocking off Buffalo on Sunday.
The Bills have lost five of six, and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel looked shaky against Pittsburgh in his first game back from injury. His top two targets, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods, are dealing with injury, which means the floundering Bills and their 29th-ranked passing offense are the exact recipe the Jets’ 26th-rated pass defense needs.
Buffalo will continue struggling to score, and Chris Ivory will follow up his season-high 139-yard performance with another big day against Buffalo’s 22nd-ranked rushing defense.
Baltimore Ravens (+3 at Chicago Bears)
Everybody is dealing with injuries at this point, but Chicago’s walking wounded include Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Henry Melton, Shea McClellin, D.J. Williams and Nate Collins. That’s just on the defensive side of the ball.
Will Ray Rice reach 100 yards against Chicago's defense?
The injuries are a major reason why the once-proud Bears’ defense ranks a miserable 31st in the league in stopping the run. Considering the fact that this game could feature ugly weather conditions, look for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to get plenty of chances against the mash-unit of a defense Chicago brings with it Sunday.
On the other side of the ball, Josh McCown will fill in for the injured Jay Cutler. McCown has done an admirable job in relief this year, but he won’t see the field much if the Bears continue to give up crippling chunks of rushing yards. Baltimore will simply outscore Chicago on Sunday.
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